Kerala High Court
Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Monday said that no new permanent flag masts be installed in the state until the government comes out with its proposed policy or regulations for regulating the same.
While issuing the direction, Justice Devan Ramachandran also made it clear that District Collectors and Secretaries of Local Self Government Institutions "are still enjoined to act as per the Land Conservancy Act" against the existing or any new illegal flag masts and need not wait for formulation of the policy or regulations.
The directions by the court came after the Additional Advocate General Ashok M Cherian and senior government pleader S Kannan submitted that the state government has constituted a high-level committee to evolve a policy or regulations for regulating the installation of new permanent flag masts in Kerala.
The committee shall comprise the Chief Secretary, Law Secretary and the Home Secretary of the state, they told the court.
The submissions were made before the court during hearing of a plea by a cooperative society which has alleged that a particular political party was illegally putting up flags and banners on its land.
On February 21, the court had given the government time till March 28 to inform about the future course of action.
It had also observed that there cannot be two sets of laws -- one for the powerful and one for the ordinary citizens -- after noting that the Left government was unable to prevent flag masts being put up without permission by political parties despite the court's orders against the same.
On November 1 last year, the court passed an interim order directing that no illegal flag poles or masts be put up in the state while the issue was being examined by it.
It had, on November 15 last year, given 10 days' time for people to remove the illegal flag poles and on November 25, 2021, it directed the government to invoke provisions of Land Conservancy Act against all flag masts numbering 42,337 in the State.
Subsequently, in December last year, the court had directed all District Collectors in the state to take action under the Land Conservancy Act against the illegal flag masts. PTI